Editor’s note: This is the eighth installment in the “Paris Vignettes” series by photographer William O’Such. William was introduced to silver halide photography by his father, Chester J. O’Such, via the family’s Ansco reflex camera and home darkroom. After college, William worked as a photographic engineer at Eastman Kodak, where he began to learn the art of photography. With his first SLR, a Canon AE-1, he photographed his inaugural voyage to Paris in 1982. This early spark turned into full passion when William became a Kodak expatriate in Paris from 1995-99. Before returning to the USA, William and his future wife Ineke bought an apartment in the Marais district. William continues to visit Paris at least twice a year to wander the streets, camera in hand, looking for the next vignette.
Before our March trip took a COVID-19 detour, I had a brief time to capture some moments before restrictions went in place. Afterwards, I did go out for short walks and captured less photos than normal. March is a mix of clouds and sunshine with an energy throughout Paris that spring is just around the corner. During the early part of the trip I finally was able to organize a street photography workshop with Jerome Lorieau a few days before we could only go out for “déplacements brefs.” We wandered from Saint-Germain to the Grand Boulevards, with Jerome providing hints on how to capture the day-to-day life in Paris from his perspective. Enjoy these photos and we look forward to our trip this summer when we can go back to being flâneurs in Paris.
Soirée – Le Griffon
Before the social distancing announcement and requirements to fill out an “attestation” to go outside, we visited a new local place for drinks and light food called Le Griffon on rue des Francs Bourgeois. Great mix of old and new décor and a happy crowd. Too bad we couldn’t go back there. Next trip!
Dimanche le long de Champs-Elysées
Just after the announcement, people weren’t 100% following the rules and that warm, sunny Sunday this woman was elegantly reading on a bench along the Champs-Elysées. In some ways, it was like a holiday. That evening, the government, noticing this, really stepped up controls on “déplacements” and social distancing.
Sortant le Metro
When you leave the metro, one is always looking up. This time I looked down and caught these footsteps going up the escalator.
Even though I’ve been to Paris many times since living there in the late 90s, I never get tired of the view from Pont des Arts and Pont Neuf especially on those beautiful days with a few clouds in the sky.
Ou sont mes chaussures?
During the class with Jerome, we stumbled across this scene near the Grands Boulevards. I wish I had more time to wait for a set of high-heeled shoes to go by next to these neatly abandoned shoes.
Wishing the crisis was over
Walking through the park just across from the Louvre I came across this statue that I’ve never seen before (one thinks that after 25+ years I’d have seen everything in central Paris!). The statue reflects a lot of the feelings I saw of many people that day.
Realize this is 1 pm on a bright sunny day near the Louvre. Usually these arcades are full of people. Not today. No one.
The park benches near Ile-Saint-Louis are at a perfect social distancing separation. During the trip there were regularly couples or individuals passing the day looking at the Seine.
Reflets, Canal Saint Martin
I love the reflections in Canal Saint-Martin. They are always different, detailed and enticing. You can see more from the trip in this album.
En attendant le Réouverture
Square Achille is just around the corner and always filled with children playing, people reading books and general happiness. Today, the birds were very happy chirping away but I’m sure the park and its neighbors are looking forward to the re-opening.
Coucher de Soleil
March still has that wonderful crispness of shadows when the sun sets. Here a single person enjoys the last hour of sunshine.
Après la Crise
In the previous series (Vignettes 007), there was a black-and-white photo of Place des Vosges with the gates closed. Here is what we are looking forward to, hopefully, in the near future– albeit with more than just the bird that was there.